12 volt essentials for your weekend trips

With long weekends scattered throughout the year, they’re the perfect opportunity to pack up the car and get away, utilising the extra day or two to travel that little bit further or explore a destination you’ve been dreaming of.  If you’re a first-time camper, a long weekend is a great opportunity to test out your new setup and find out what works and what doesn’t before setting off for weeks at a time.

12v Fridge vs esky

This is entirely up to you. If you’re only heading away for a few days over the weekend either option will work just fine. An esky is an easy solution that requires little in the way of setting up or planning. Just grab a bag of ice on the way and you’re good to go. The drawback of an esky comes when the ice melts, food gets soggy and you’re stuck driving to the local servo everyday to buy a fresh bag of ice.

If you’re wanting something a little more sustainable, a 12v fridge is an easy upgrade to make. They can be charged via the cigarette socket in your vehicle, plugged into mains power at camp or powered by a dual battery or portable power system. Depending on the outside temperature, a 12V fridge can also be run in the car on the way to the campsite, disconnected overnight and will stay relatively cold.


Depending on how you want to travel, power might seem like a luxury for a weekend away. You might be okay to fill the esky with ice and barbeque meat and set off, happy to disconnect for a few days. But if you want to keep your devices charged, have lights at night-time and keep your 12v fridge running then power is a necessity.

 If you’re only planning to travel for a few days at a time, installing a full traditional dual battery system might seem like overkill. It’s a big commitment to permanently install a full off-grid power system and take up space in a vehicle that you use every day. Because of this, portable power could be a better option.

With USB and 12v sockets (as well as a fridge and Anderson outputs), GoBlock is ideal for keeping phones, games, iPads, cameras, drones, lights and fridges running. With a 50 or 100Ah lithium battery, REDARC’s GoBlock Portable Power System can be charged via mains power, vehicle power and solar. So, you can charge it up at home or on the way to your destination and plug in a solar panel if you’re looking to top it up at camp. It’s light enough to be taken in and out of the car at home or the campsite and small enough to be slotted in between your fridge and luggage.

On a single charge the 100Ah GoBlock is capable of running your fridge for up to 5 days, charge your phone more than 99 times, keep lights on for more than 80 hours and run a CPAP machine for more than 20 hours. So even if you only charge it before you set off, your long weekend trip is powered from start to finish.

Tow safely

If you’re setting off on a long weekend trip with your new caravan in tow, you’ll want to make sure you’re going to get to your destination safely and in one piece. There’s a lot you should know about towing before heading out but one thing you’ll definitely need, a good electric brake controller. An electric brake controller controls the brakes on your trailer. When you’ve got a few tonnes behind you, the road can become dangerous quickly. An electric brake controller wires into your tow vehicle and allows you to control and manage the trailer’s brakes from the drivers’ seat.


If you’re running a traditional dual battery system, a pure sine wave inverter might be a useful addition to your setup for your long weekend trip. Inverters work by converting 12v DC power to AC mains power, the type that runs through your house. This allows you to plug in any of your home appliances and a take a little bit of luxury on your long weekend getaway. Depending on the size of your inverter and dual battery system you can run anything from phone chargers to coffee machines, hairdryers, power tools and microwaves.

Inverter size Perfect for powering
350W Phones, laptops, cameras, speakers, GPS & bi-pap machines
700W Phones, laptops, cameras, speakers, GPS, bi-pap machines & televisions
1000W Phones, laptops, cameras, speakers, GPS, bi-pap machines, coffee machines & power tools
1500W Phones, laptops, cameras, speakers, GPS, bi-pap machines, coffee machines, power tools, hairdryers & irons
2000W Phones, laptops, cameras, speakers, GPS, bi-pap machines, coffee machines, power tools, hairdryers, irons & microwaves
3000W Phones, laptops, cameras, speakers, GPS, bi-pap machines, coffee machines, power tools, hairdryers, irons, microwaves, heaters & kettles
AC SmartCharger

While an AC smart battery charger isn’t a necessity for your weekend getaway, it’s a nice piece of gear to have when you get home. After using your dual battery system for days at a time, your batteries are probably feeling the pinch and are pretty drained. While they may have received a little charge from your alternator on the drive home, an AC smart charger plugs into your mains power at home and connects to your battery to replenish its charge while you get back to daily life. This means your batteries are always full and ready to go the next time you head out, because there’s nothing worse than setting off and realising you’ve only got a half-charged battery to start with.  

To get your travel inspiration fix and maybe even decide on a location for your next long weekend escape, check out our NO LIMITS series on YouTube.